If you have just made the leap into E39 ownership, congratulations on your new car! If you don’t already know, the E39 generation 5 series is one of the greatest BMW models ever produced. Today, this model is still celebrated for its handling, styling, whisper quiet interior and excellent build quality. They say this is the last of its kind before the road feel was all but eliminated by BMW’s new model designs.
Your leaking oil filter housing gasket has been bothering you for months. Its dripping onto the driveway, requiring a weekly top-up with expensive synthetic oil. “How much money can I waste on oil this month?”, you ask yourself. I totally understand why the average BMW enthusiast would avoid this job for months at a time, however. Digging into this project will take anywhere from 4-6 hours depending upon your proficiency and what other items you replace along the way.
Searching through the list of BMW codes is a necessary part of diagnosing the service engine soon light in your car. After scanning your trouble codes, starting with a code or a group of several codes is a great way to begin diagnosing a problem; many times a quick search of a DTC code will lead to a simple answer to help you complete the repair.
Replacing the coil packs on your BMW is one of the easiest repairs you can do yourself to save money and avoid a trip to the repair shop. In fact, I recently shared an invoice from BMW detailing the ignition coil replacement cost in my E39 that the previous owner had paid for. Often times a failing coil pack will cause symptoms such as: rough idle, poor fuel economy, stumbling acceleration, and will turn on the service engine soon light.
Replacing the front suspension on your E39 is one of the most effective ways to improve the performance of your BMW. However, taking your car to the dealer or independent repair shop can cost thousands to have all of the various front and rear suspension components replaced.
Changing your oil is a necessary part of routine maintenance for any car. While most car owners can get away with a cheap $15.95 oil change from their local repair shop, BMW owners are often charged upwards of $100 at a reputable shop. My local BMW dealer charges $109.95 for an oil change special on the E39. To be fair, some BMW filters can be a little more expensive and most modern models require fully synthetic oil in larger than normal quantities.
Some of the best upgrades you can make to maximize the fuel economy of your BMW include: replacing the spark plugs, keeping correct tire pressures, and replacing old oxygen sensors. The oxygen sensors before the catalytic converters – located in the exhaust manifolds – play a large part in controlling the fuel mixture for the engine. When they have high mileage or have failed they no longer send a clear signal to the engine’s computer, at which point the computer defaults to a base line map designed to protect the engine. This default map is a rich fuel mixture (extra fuel) which causes sluggish performance and decreased fuel economy.
Replacing the spark plugs and coil packs on your BMW is one of the easiest and most affordable ways to increase performance and enhance fuel economy. This job can be completed with just a few basic hand tools and an hour of your time. Factory Bosch ignition coil packs cost about $29 each and NGK platinum factory spec plugs cost about $7 each. At only $36 per cylinder, that puts a full tune up at $216 for a six cylinder and $288 for an 8 cylinder.
Last week I replaced my intake camshaft position sensor, which finally resolved the random stalling issue my E39 was experiencing. It’s very common for these sensors to cause stalling at traffic lights or during slow speed driving when they are starting to fail. Since my car has 135,000 miles on the original sensors, it is recommended that both the intake and exhaust sensors are replaced together. If the intake side failed, logic says the exhaust side is probably not far behind it.
Whether you’re purchasing a used car or are just curious about the age of your tires, it’s a useful skill to be able to read the information on a tire sidewall correctly. This ability comes in handy, especially when you’re about to purchase a used car and the seller is claiming the car has brand new tires.